EOIN BLACKWELL | AAP
TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL (PNG) HAS JOINED a call for Papua New Guinea's neighbour nations to dob in dodgy financial transactions by PNG officials.
The call by TIPNG chairman Lawrence Stephens echoes a plea by the head of PNG's government anti-corruption body, Task Force Sweep (TFS), Sam Koim, in Sydney last week.
Mr Stephens said Mr Koim's statement that financial institutions in nations such as Australia have been complicit in accepting money stolen from PNG's public coffers is not a new allegation.
"It is common knowledge that many Papua New Guinean officials have acquired property and bank accounts in Australia well beyond their official earning capacity," Mr Stephens said.
"For a long time now TIPNG has been calling on its neighbours to help uncover suspicious investments, particularly in real estate.
"Once again, we ask that our friends take action."
Mr Koim, who once described Australia as PNG's "Cayman Islands", last week told a Sydney financial forum as much as half of PNG's $3.5 billion development budget over three years had been lost to graft or dodgy overseas investments, and accused Australian financial institutions of complicity.
Six unnamed PNG politicians are currently subject to an intelligence-gathering phase of an investigation in conjunction with Australian agencies into $11.5 million in property deals in Cairns and northern Australia.
"They have bought property and other assets, put money in bank accounts and gambled heavily in your casinos and have never been troubled by having their ill-gotten gains taken off them," Mr Koim told the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.
"Unless the money can be prevented from leaving our country, or prevented from entering Australia, the bad guys win and the rest of Papua New Guinea suffers."
Mr Koim asked that financial institutions in Australia and other nations demand tax returns and salary pay-slips from prominent officials making large overseas transactions that clearly outstripped their pay grade.
The Australian government has yet to comment on Mr Koim's allegations